FORT WAYNE – The new forward combination for Notre Dame will have two more chances to perfect its partnership when the Irish come to Fort Wayne this weekend.
With games against Ohio State (8 p.m. Saturday) and IPFW (2 p.m. Sunday) in the ShindigZ National Soccer Festival, seniors Jeb Brovsky and Steven Perry will use the exhibition matches to show Notre Dame coach Bobby Clark made the right decision by putting them together.
We want to be as dangerous as possible every time we get on the field, Brovsky said. These two games, maybe we could try a couple of things that we possibly wouldn’t in a season game.
Clark is counting on seeing a lot from the forwards when the season starts with a match against UCLA in Bloomington Sept. 3.
Brovsky is a two-time All-Big East third-team selection, and he scored four goals and had four assists last season. The 6-foot-1, 170-pounder has appeared in 67 matches, including 40 starts, and has 11 goals and 11 assists in three seasons.
Perry is coming off his best season, scoring two goals and picking up an assist. Playing primarily behind former Irish stars Joseph Lapira and Bright Dike, the 6-foot, 175-pounder has appeared in 55 matches, including 13 starts, and has three goals and four assists in three seasons.
Steven is one of the smartest forwards and makes terrific runs, Clark said. He’s really quick, really fast and smart. If you are just fast and not smart, it’s not much of an asset. If you are smart and not quick, you still can play OK. But when you have both together, then you can be very good.
Jeb’s an exceptional player. He does some really pretty amazing things with the ball. He sees things that I hardly see from the sidelines. He is confident with the ball. He’s a guy who can score goals for sure, but he is also a good provider.
Brovsky and Perry got a jump on perfecting their chemistry when they played a series of matches in Sweden and Denmark in May.
The Irish went 3-3 during the trip, and the two seniors combined for five goals in six matches against professional teams. Notre Dame opened its fall exhibition season with a 3-2 win Monday over Illinois-Chicago.
After playing with Jeb for three years now, I really feel there is enough chemistry up there to where we know where each other is going to be at every time in the game, Perry said. Jeb’s extremely dangerous when he has the ball at his feet. I feel like I’m a guy who is more dangerous running off the ball and getting into space.
Spacing between the forwards has been an important element Brovsky and Perry have worked on since being named starters.
Brovsky is more of a playmaker and positions himself closer to the defensive end when opponents attack so he can create during a counterattack.
Perry plays higher on the pitch and can use his speed to create open areas for Brovsky to distribute the ball and set up scoring opportunities.
As the seniors have become more comfortable playing off each other’s strengths, they get closer to one of their goals for the season.
Our goal is to be the hardest duo in college soccer to stop, Brovsky said. I think we both have the experience to do that, and the tools especially. I’m looking forward to big things between us.